6. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
What is the easiest? To revenge or to be merciful to unkind people?
Is there a desire in your heart to be more merciful to people?
Let’s ask Jesus to tell us more about this fine characteristic
Selfishness prevents us from beholding God. The self-seeking spirit judges of God as altogether such a one as itself. Until we have renounced this, we cannot understand Him who is love. Only the unselfish heart, the humble and trustful spirit, shall see God as “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Exodus 34:6.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Merciful. Gr. eleēmones, “pitiful,” “merciful,” “compassionate.”
In Hebres 2:17 Christ is said to be a “merciful [eleēmon] and faithful high priest.” Our English word “eleemosynary,” meaning “relating or devoted to charity or alms,” is derived, through the Latin, from this word.
The mercy of which Christ here speaks is an active manward virtue. It is of little value until it takes the form of merciful deeds. In Matthew 25:31–46 deeds of mercy are presented as being the test of admission to the kingdom of glory.
Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
Matthew 25:32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
Matthew 25:33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Matthew 25:35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
Matthew 25:36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
Matthew 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
Matthew 25:38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
Matthew 25:39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
Matthew 25:42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
Matthew 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
Matthew 25:44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
Matthey 25:45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
This is very serious. Looking at our performances of mercy, will we be able to enter eternal life?
James includes deeds of mercy in his definition of “pure religion”.
James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Let us listen to the same words of another Old Testament prophet:
Micha 6:6 With what shall I come before the LORD, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old?
Micha 6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
Micha 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Note that Micah, like Christ, mentions both humility before God and mercy toward men. These may be compared with the two commandments on which “all the law and the prophets” hang.
Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.
Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
Matthew 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Matthew 22:39 And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”—Matthew 5:7.
The heart of man is by nature cold and dark and unloving; whenever one manifests a spirit of mercy and forgiveness, he does it not of himself, but through the influence of the divine Spirit moving upon his heart.
“We love, because He first loved us.”
1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
God is Himself the source of all mercy. His name is “merciful and gracious.”
Exodus 34:5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
Exodus 34:7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
He does not treat us according to what we deserve. He does not ask if we are worthy of His love, but He pours upon us the riches of His love, to make us worthy.
He is not vindictive. He seeks not to punish, but to redeem. Even the severity which He manifests through His providences is manifested for the salvation of the wayward.
He yearns with intense desire to relieve the woes of men and to apply His balsam to their wounds. It is true that God “will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7), but He would take away the guilt.
The merciful are “partakers of the divine nature,” and in them the compassionate love of God finds expression. All whose hearts are in sympathy with the heart of Infinite Love will seek to reclaim and not to condemn. Christ dwelling in the soul is a spring that never runs dry. Where He abides, there will be an overflowing of beneficence.
To the appeal of the erring, the tempted, the wretched victims of want and sin, the Christian does not ask, Are they worthy? but, How can I benefit them? In the most wretched, the most debased, he sees souls whom Christ died to save and for whom God has given to His children the ministry of reconciliation.
The merciful are those who manifest compassion to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed. Job declares,
Job 29:11 When the ear heard, then it blessed me, And when the eye saw, then it approved me;
Job 29:12 Because I delivered the poor who cried out, The fatherless and the one who had no helper.
Job 29:13 The blessing of a perishing man came upon me, And I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
Job 29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban.
Job 29:15 I was eyes to the blind, And I was feet to the lame.
Job 29:16 I was a father to the poor, And I searched out the case that I did not know.
There are many to whom life is a painful struggle; they feel their deficiencies and are miserable and unbelieving; they think they have nothing for which to be grateful.
Kind words, looks of sympathy, expressions of appreciation, would be to many a struggling and lonely one as the cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of sympathy, an act of kindness, would lift burdens that rest heavily upon weary shoulders. And every word or deed of unselfish kindness is an expression of the love of Christ for lost humanity.
The merciful “shall obtain mercy.”
Proverbs 11:24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.
Proverbs 11:25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.
Proverbs 11:26 The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. There is sweet peace for the compassionate spirit, a blessed satisfaction in the life of self-forgetful service for the good of others.
The Holy Spirit that abides in the soul and is manifest in the life will soften hard hearts and awaken sympathy and tenderness. You will reap that which you sow.
Psalm 41:1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
Psalm 41:2 The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.
Psalm 41:3 The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.
What a promise!
He who has given his life to God in ministry to His children is linked with Him who has all the resources of the universe at His command. His life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises with the life of God.
The Lord will not fail him in the hour of suffering and need.
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
And in the hour of final need the merciful shall find refuge in the mercy of the compassionate Saviour and shall be received into everlasting habitations.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God